Claire Wahmanholm's poems have most recently appeared in, or are forthcoming from, Anthropoid, Paperbag, Saltfront, PANK, Bennington Review, Birdfeast, and Memorious, and have been featured on Verse Daily. Her chapbook, Night Vision, won the 2017 New Michigan Press/DIAGRAM chapbook contest and is forthcoming in November 2017. Her debut full-length collection is forthcoming from Tinderbox Editions in early 2019. She lives and teaches in the Twin Cities.
The Last Animals
We saw them from the top of the hill. The wind blew past our ears and down into the valley where they straggled, up to their tails in snow. One spotted, one striped, one the color of dead leaves. Our encyclopedia had told us about animals, but none of us had ever seen a real one. To see the last of something wasn't new. We had seen many last things: the last acorn, the last lightning storm, the last tide. All the last things had the same smell — a solvent, a sulfur we could taste on the air — which is how we always knew to pay attention. The animals were moving steadily across the valley. We passed around the encyclopedia and studied the pictures, but none of them matched. Someone broke a stick from the last tree and tried to scratch the animals' outlines into the frozen dirt of the last vegetable patch, but it wouldn't take. The animals were crossing the valley faster than we could follow. Our nails broke as we raked at the soil. When we next looked up, our eyes filled with snow.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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